3-2-1, 1978

It was prime time viewing on a Saturday night for ten years, with impressive viewing figures that never fell below twelve million.

It had all the usual ingredients for a game show at the time.  A top prize of a car, glamorous hostesses and guess what? A comedian as the show’s host.  Ted Rogers had been a Butlin’s Red Coat and gone on in the sixties as a regular stand up comic on The Billy Cotton Band Show, from there during the 1970’s he became a familiar presence on Sunday Night at the London Palladium and panel show Joker’s Wild, before taking up hosting duties on 3-2-1 in 1978.

The show was based on a Spanish gameshow called Un, dos, tres… responda otra vez and was three shows in one, a quiz show, a variety show and a game show.  In ten series it clocked up 138 shows including 13 specials, not bad for a show who’s star was a bin.


The aim of the game was to survive elimination through to part three of the show, and try to unravel a series of cryptic clues in order to win the star prize. One of the clues, however, referred to Dusty Bin who was the show’s booby prize. If the contestants ended up with Dusty at the end of the show, all they got was a brand new dustbin.

Each show had a theme, such as ‘Seacruise’ or the ‘Swinging Sixties’. All of the variety acts, quiz questions, stage sets and clues subsequently followed this theme. In later series, Dusty would appear in a costume relating to that week’s theme. The changing themes were dropped for the final series where a more generic stage set was re-used each week.

The three stages were: Stage One – a quiz, stage two – elimination round, Stage Three – Take It Or Leave It.

Game shows seem so much easier these days.








Hosted By: Ted Rogers

Narrated By:
Anthony Schaeffer – 1984-1985
John Benson – 1986-1987


Channel: ITV
Produced By: Yorkshire Television
Original Transmission Dates: 29th July 1978 – 24th December 1988


There was an annual that ran through several years of the show, these are very rare and quite valuable, there was one listed on ebay 12/06/2012 at £39.99.  Various items of Dusty Bin merchandising were produced and these vary in their value.  An original TV Dusty Bin booby prize is said to be worth several hundred pounds, although we have not been able to find any proof, but it’s surprising what people will collect.


3-2-1 enjoys regular repeats on digital channel Challenge TV

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